Thursday, 31 March 2016

Great Google posts for teachers #49

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers.



Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Three South African teachers join 250 global teachers at the Microsoft E2 Teacher exchange in Budapest. Will it be you, next year?

Submitted by Fiona Beal
Three of our Microsoft MIEExpert teachers were selected to attend the dazzling Microsoft E2 Global Teacher Exchange in beautiful Budapest this year from March 8th - 10th. Keshma Patel (Micklefield School, Western Cape, Moses Sello Sehoole (Mankuroane Technical and Commercial High, North West Province) and Tracy Heath (Brescia House School, Gauteng) left our shores earlier this month, along with Angela Schaerer from Microsoft,  to attend a conference where they would be surrounded by some of the most creative and innovative educators from around the world. We are hoping that our three SA teachers will write guest posts about their experiences on this blog in the not-to-distant future.

What is the Microsoft E2 Global Exchange?
The E2 teacher education is Microsoft's annual education event recognising and celebrating the achievements of educators to combine content, pedagogy and technology in innovative ways to prepare students for success. Our three South African teachers joined around 250 of the most innovative teachers that Microsoft has sourced from around the globe for this fantastic event. Their purpose was to share experiences collaborate on projects and learn new techniques to integrate technology into the classroom. This year the venue was the glittering Corinth hotel shown in the collage above. Below are two photos of Budapest taken by Keshma Patel.


The program for the three-day event On the official programme the following events were outlined: 
  • Tech learning market place – share and learn from peers who are using Microsoft technologies innovatively.
  • Regional and peer-to-peer workshops and trainings on Microsoft technologies for the classroom
  • Global Educator Challenge
  • Professional certification and certification opportunities
  • Technology showcase
Highlights
For this section I have drawn extensively from the three blog posts mentioned in the bibliography below.
"I especially liked the breakout sessions on a variety of topics led by fellow teachers. It’s one thing to hear about a product from a developer’s point of view. It’s invaluable to listen to a teacher model how that product can be successfully used in the classroom." (Julie Hembree) 

Here is an image of some of the projects demonstrated. Even our own dear Nelson Mandela was quoted on screen at the conference.

Images taken from Julie Hembree's blog post
"I got to know wonderful teachers from all parts of the world and hear amazing stories from their classrooms, and I was really impressed with how they used their stories to build something new and innovative together." (Paula Vorne) 

"We could also take some of the Microsoft certification tests such as the 
Microsoft Certified Educator exam if we wanted to. Taking an intense test was a good reminder of the difficulty it can be for our students." (Julie Hembree) 

"While the groups were designing their hacks and creating the Office Mixes, the Fellows got an amazing opportunity to be trained on STEM Maker Fair Kits. It was so much fun!"
(Paula Vorne)

"During the second day keynote address, Anthony Salcito, the Vice President of the World Wide Education team emphasized the mission of the Microsoft Education team. We had a chance to Skype with an Arctic Explorer and hear what it’s like to live in such a harsh climate."(Julie Hembree)

"Another teacher tells me how he uses Minecraft to teach creative writing. “I used to tell them to write a story and they’d give me these blank stares. Now I ask them to act out a story in the Minecraft world first and then, together, we figure out how to articulate it in writing.” (Jordan Shapiro)

"We had to design a classroom hack in an assigned persona: Gamify, Personalize, Minimize, Simplify and Strategize. Our Hack had to be shared in an Office Mix and couldn’t be over 3 minutes long. Each teacher was assigned to a team, where we had to find a common problem and a solution to it." (Julie Hembree)

"The Learning Marketplace took place on the last day! Each educator set up a trifold poster detailing the project they focused on at home with their students. The trick is to be at your booth to meet other educators and tell them about your project AND move around the room meeting others and hearing their stories." (Julie Hembree) 

Here is an image of our three South African teachers with their projects:

"Two more teachers show me how they’ve created their own social and emotional assessment tool within OneNote’s Class Notebooks feature."
(Jordan Shapiro)

"The last evening of the conference was the celebration time. Dressed in fancy cocktail attire, we were bussed to the National Gallery of Budapest to spend the evening at the building that houses some of the most renowned Hungarian art. There was an award ceremony where the winners of the Hack the Classroom contest were announced." (Julie Hembree)


This short video 'Thank you MIE Experts' (http://bit.ly/1Y0o5CN) uploaded by Microsoft gives one the feel of this amazing conference.


Hack the classroom challenge with link to winners

At the E2 in Budapest Microsoft ran a classroom hack competition. The 250 educators were broken into 50 collaboartive groups and were randomly assigned a hacker persona. Each team had to design a classroom hack which involved:
  1. identifying a common problem they all faced in the classroom
  2. Propose an innovative solution that is reasonable to implement taking into consideration the technology available to the team members in their home situations. The hack also had to match their assigned persona. 
  3. They created an Office Mix of 3mins to describe the problem, how it affects learning, the solution and how to implement the solution
The judges then selected the winners.The winner was this Mix shown in the image below: 'How to integrate foreign students into a multicultural classroom." To watch the top 15 Mixes from the different categories please visit the Microsoft Educator Community on this link: http://bit.ly/1Y0ok0W


Here is an image of Moses from South Africa with his group designing their 'Hack the classroom' challenge. 


The second day of the conference was streamed 
You can watch the live streaming recording taken of the 2nd day if you visit this link (http://bit.ly/1OsxxIt on the Microsoft Education Community and register. You'll hear from Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education at Microsoft and Stephen Reid, Creative Director for ImmersiveMinds, who shares innovative approaches to learning enabled by technology, including game-based learning, as well as some of their favourite ways to #hacktheclassroom.



Our three teachers are back, excited and inspired...
Our three teachers are back and we are eager to hear their stories. Moses Sehoole has been featured in a newspaper report:


As Moses Sehoole wrote on Facebook:
South Africa: #‎MIEE 2016. Back from Exchange Conference in BUDAPEST, HUNGARY. We are back and ready #‎hack our classrooms #‎Share good practices.Thank you Microsoft for Educator Empowerment.


Get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program 2016/2017
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft's Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2016/2017 when applications reopen later in the year. You can learn more about the program at this link http://bit.ly/1H4gKcB on the Microsoft Educator Community. You could be the one attending a Microsoft E2 Teacher Exchange next year!

Bibliography

Why not join SchoolNet's free membership program?

SchoolNet started a free member programme for South African educators towards the end of 2011 as a way of providing various free, online professional initiatives that focus on integrating ICT into daily teaching.

What does Schoolnet's membership programme include?

Social Media Initiatives
  • The SchoolNet SA blog has regular updates of posts which would interest teachers
  • Our SchoolNet Facebook page has daily updates of resources and events
  • We can be reached on Twitter at @SchoolNetSA.
  • Our SchoolNet YouTube channel is updated when necessary
  • Our SlideShare tutorials can be found at http://www.slideshare.net/Schoolnetsa11/presentations
  • SchoolNet is participating in the TeachMeet programmes developing around the country in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng, and has created a TeachMeet wiki for South Africa to advertise these event
  • We send out a regular newsletter to keep our members informed of all our happenings, upcoming events and opportunities. 
  • View our SchoolNet Weeky Times which is an online newspaper collection of our weekly tweets made using Paper.Li.
  • View our curated online newspapers on topics of interest made with Scoop.it. These include topics such as Learning with tablets, Tablet-use videos, Using gamification in education etc.
Benefits

As a member, you will:
  • receive early access to notifications of forthcoming offers and opportunities
  • have the opportunity to grow personally and become more proficient in integrating ICT into your daily classroom routine by enjoying an online professional development experience.
  • have opportunities to network with like-minded professionals
  • gain preferential access to professional growth interventions such as courses, conferences and webinars
  • receive a monthly newsletter outlining all our happenings, upcoming events and opportunities at SchoolNet
  • participate in SchoolNet’s social networking  initiatives
How to Join as a Member

This is available to all South African educators.
1. Go to the Schoolnet website's home page and click on ‘Sign up for SchoolNet membership’.
2. Follow the prompts and wait for confirmation of your username and password.
3. Contact fiona (at) schoolnet.org.za if you experience any difficulties.

Here is a PowerPoint presentation to guide you in the steps to joining us. It can be downloaded from http://1drv.ms/22iount





Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Useful Microsoft posts for teachers this week #45

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week:



Useful Microsoft posts for teachers #45
View more lists from SchoolNet 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Great Google posts for teachers this week #48

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers.


View more lists from Fiona Beal

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Why not explore Microsoft Math this Easter break?

Grade 10-12 Mathematics can become the most popular subject at school with the right tools for learning! One of those tools that is free and engaging is Microsoft Math. Microsoft Math is a free, online, 24-hour high school learning support service for Grade 10-12 Maths students in South Africa and globally, provided by Microsoft. What is more, it is available on any device at any time of day or night. You'll find it at  https://math.microsoft.com 



What makes Microsoft Math so great?

Here are some of the great features of Microsoft Math: 
  • Game-like approach 
  • Offers social support. Students can form groups and collaborate out of school
  • Students can also compete with others to see who can reach the top of the rankings. 
  • Thousands of Maths exercises based on the South African CAPS curriculum
  • Examples of how to solve them
  • Theory and tests
  • Instant, interactive feedback


Is Microsoft Math useful for teachers?
Yes! It helps teachers to improve their own skills and working methods. Teachers gain access to a rich exercise bank to ease class planning. The interactive system provides them clearer understanding of their students’ skills – and a new channel to communicate with and motivate them.


Microsoft Maths has 0 data charges on a Windows phone
Microsoft Math is also available as a Windows Phone application, which makes the service content accessible offline allowing students to continue practicing even without internet connection!

Explore Microsoft Math this Easter holiday!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Useful Microsoft posts for teachers this week #44

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week:




Friday, 18 March 2016

'South Africa Library Week' - another great creative writing guest post from @apeters522 from Parklands College


This is another guest post from Anthony Peters @apeters522 who is a very innovative English High School teacher from Parklands College in CapeTown who delights in using technology in the classroom creatively. We are always delighted to publish posts by Anthony. You can view all his previous posts on our blog via the Anthony Peters label under ‘Quick links’ on the right side. 

Grade 7 enjoyed a whole programme with a spectrum of activities for South Africa's Library Week. The foci of these activities orientated around improving setting and character descriptions for narrative writing.

The first app used was Tell A Tale and it provided the learners the first and last lines of a typical story, as well as three objects or characters. Learners were paired up and given only three minutes to compose a short one-minute story. 



After the time was up, they then had to read their creations to their partners! The aim of this was to encourage refined creative thinking whilst under pressure and also to practise the main elements of narrative structure (setting, challenge, climax and resolution). Despite the diminutive timeframe, the learners performed admirably and came up with an array of fantastical plots!

The following day, the learners freed their creativity with an Augmented Reality app called Quiver. The relationship between characters and young authors is often lost and so by colouring in a variety of templates, the Grade 7s actively engaged with the stimuli in order to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of characterisation.

After finishing the templates, the app brought the images to life off the paper and into 3D! Therefore, robot warriors, dragons and fireworks literally flew off the pages and joined us in the Learning Resources Centre! 




  

SchoolNet says:
Thanks for this post, Anthony. This writing lessons sounds like another of your really well thought out, exciting lessons that the students will long remember. Thank you again to you and the creative English Department at Parklands College in Cape Town for sharing this inspiring lesson with us.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

MIEExpert Spotlight #9: Karen Stadler from Cape Town talks about her use of Skype in the classroom

This is the sixth post in the series "MIEExpert Spotlight for South Africa". The tab with all the posts can be found at:  http://bit.ly/1ZYy8Z7. Today we focus on Karen Stadler who is the Senior Primary Technology Integration Specialist at Elkanah House Senior Primary in Cape Town. She is also a 2016 Microsoft MIEExpert Educator. Karen is well known globally especially for her Travelling Rhino project and her award-winning wiki. In 2015 Karen represented South Africa at the Microsoft Global Forum in Dubai and she wrote an excellent blog post about her experience there.

Karen Stadler from Elkanah House in Cape Town has used technology to make learners in over 100+ classes in 55 countries (at the last count) aware of the plight of rhinos in South Africa. Karen’s ‘Save our rhinos’ project involved hand-made rhinos travelling to classrooms around the world to raise awareness of the fact that rhinos are facing extinction and to unite the voices of the children of the world to ensure the future existence of the rhino.


Karen says that whilst the ‘Save our rhinos’ project is the project of my heartnot in my wildest dreams did I think that two and a half years down the line my rhino project would still be current and growing in momentum.” The project has pulled at the heartstrings of teachers and students and has inspired classes in every continent to either conduct their own activities to raise awareness about rhinos or to at least become more aware about rhinos and the myths surrounding their horns.

Karen’s use of Skype in the classroom
Karen attributes many of the successes of the ‘Save our rhinos’ project to being able to use Skype for collaboration between classes and for her to communicate with other teachers. Stadler has found that her involvement in the ‘Save our rhinos’ project has led to students from around the world seeing her as an expert on rhinos and says that Skype makes it possible to take an expert to a classroom on the other side of the world and for children to speak directly to the expert. Stadler says that speaking to students from around the world has made her realize the effect that project based learning has had and that she is “awe-stuck by the caliber of higher-order questions I am asked from learners as young as in Grade 2.”

“Skype allows you to connect with the world. I wouldn’t have been able to do all this without Skype. As a result of Skype and my global projects I know so many teachers around the world.”
In addition to using Skype extensively in the “Save our rhinos” project, Karen has been involved in a range of other activities that make use of Skype including Mystery Skypes and a 24 hour Skypathon with Beverley Ladd around 35 countries. Karen also follows @SkypeClassroom on Twitter to stay abreast of ways that Skype can be used to enhance education. “We mostly use Skype when we are connecting with overseas schools in little projects such as our recent one called Crazy Crazes where we compared crazes amongs our learners. We also compared a day in our lives at school. All our comparisons were presented on a wiki.


 Although Skype has made it easier for teachers trying to set up collaborative projects, Stadler notes that “Time zone differences when using Skype are always a challenge. We have to prepare well before and try to work around time zones.” The Skype in the Classroom website can help teachers to overcome this challenge by finding teachers and classes who wish to collaborate who live in similar time zones or teachers can use asynchronous tools to communicate at times where it is not possible to chat at the same time. Stadler says, “The new Skype Translate looks as though it could be a very useful tool as it will make it easier to connect students who do not share a common language." 


In 2014 Karen Stadler’s ‘Save our rhinos’ project won the prestigious ISTE SIGOL Online Learning Award and her ‘Save our rhinos’  wiki was selected as a finalist in the Edublogs Awards. Stadler was also selected as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and attended the Global Forum in Dubai. She says she learnt a great deal at the Dubai Global Forum and was especially interested in the concept of deeper learning which she has used as a basis for a project based learning framework which is being introduced at Elkanah House. Stadler especially loved meeting like-minded teachers at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Dubai. As a globally aware teacher Karen is always looking out for new classes to connect with.  “I was really happy that some other African countries showed interest in our Rhino  project whilst in Dubai – Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia. I am very keen to connect with them via Skype.”

The Microsoft competition has motivated Karen to keep on doing what she is doing.  “I am very happy at the innovation shown in Microsoft products. I love Sway, and I am delving into Office Mix. I want to look at OneNote next. I feel this technology needs to be freely available to every child in every school in South Africa. We have such underprivileged schools that would benefit so much.  I’d love to see that become a reality. I love the way Microsoft has surprised me! They have some really exciting stuff. I love their emphasis on education and the way they think out of the box. I love the way they celebrate teachers. “

Find out more about using Skype in the classroom
You’ll find a number of Skype lessons on the Microsoft Educator Community at http://bit.ly/1VizGOL. Once you are signed in on the Microsoft Educator network type 'Mysetery Skype'into the search bar to find teachers wanting to set up a Mystery Skype collaboration.  Mystery Skype is when two teachers set up a Skype experience between their classes. The classes have to guess each other's location. 


Get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program in 2017
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft's Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2017 when applications reopen later in the year. You can learn more about the program at this link: http://bit.ly/1H4gKcBon the Microsoft Educator Community. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Eight new stories from the African Storybook Project website

The African Storybook project (http://www.africanstorybook.org/) , a wonderful repository of Creative Commons stories, beautifully illustrated, for the children of Africa, has changed its website to a new design. It is not very easy to find your way around the new website and the actual stories don't have links that enable one to find them again. (The only way i could find a link to a story was to email it to myself using the Share button). Nevertheless this is a site every teacher should know about and use in the classroom.

Recently I came across eight new stories that I hadn't seen before. Take a look:



3) How about you?
http://www.africanstorybook.org/index.php?id=15340



4) Amazing Daisy
http://www.africanstorybook.org/index.php?id=15321 

5) I enjoy
http://www.africanstorybook.org/index.php?id=15382



6) My Red Ball
http://www.africanstorybook.org/index.php?id=13308

7) Palesa loves plants



So, after you have read a couple of these stories pop over to the African Storybook project website and take a look around. As you do ideas will strike you on how you could use this wonderful website in your classroom.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Useful Microsoft posts for teachers #43

The Internet is currently full of posts about using Microsoft products effectively in the classroom. Here are a number of them from this past week:

Monday, 14 March 2016

MIEExpert Spotlight #8: Linda Foulkes from Cape Town highly recommends using OneNote in the classroom

This is the eigtth post in the series "MIEExpert Spotlight for South Africa". The tab with all the posts can be found at: http://bit.ly/1ZYy8Z7. Today we focus on Linda Foulkes from Cape Town who is one of our Microsoft #MIEExperts for 2016. She has written about her use of OneNote in the classroom. Linda  was one of four teachers representing South Africa in 2015 in Seattle at the E2 Global Teacher Exchange in Seattle in 2015. Follow her on Twitter at @folklind

Linda Foulkes, a current Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, believes that “the potential of OneNote for Education is unlimited. OneNote has so many benefits and most schools do not even know about this hidden gem and its power!” According to Linda, OneNote is a powerful tool for connected classrooms as “it can be used to provide tutorials for subjects in and out of the classroom, it can be used as a multimedia note taker and as a subject resource to share live with teachers and students”
"The potential of One-Note for Education is unlimited. OneNote has so many benefits and most schools do not even know about this hidden gem and its power!”

In her previous position, at Elkanah House High School in Cape Town, Linda was involved in creating learning activities for staff, students and teachers on a continual basis and providing professional development and support for staff in integrating technology into their teaching. Linda noted that as their school was running a Bring Your Own Device program “it was necessary to find a manageable work flow which embraced teaching and learning for all involved and took into consideration our bandwidth and other constraints which teachers face today.” Linda found that OneNote played an important role in empowering teachers to actively use ICT in the classroom as she was able to show them how they could plan meaningful lessons using the Microsoft Office tools which they were already familiar with and which students could access on a range of devices.
Microsoft Innovative.

OneNote as a multifunctional tool
In addition to showing teachers how they can use OneNote as a tool to organize lessons, collect resources and set up class activities, Linda actively uses OneNote to curate and share resources that teachers can use to integrate technology into their lessons. Linda explains “my role is a supportive and training one. OneNote was the perfect opportunity to come alive in the lives of those around me by using it as a shared, collaborative, resource notebook for teachers and students. The benefit of compiling this activity was extremely rewarding not only within my own school, but across the globe, helping students and teachers integrate technology into the classroom.

Linda's BYOD OneNote shared resource
Linda's 'BYOD Shared OneNote Resource for Teachers' is updated almost daily and shared with teachers across the globe. It is very useful tool for me to share in the classroom with children and when preparing for subject related lessons. The tools are thoroughly researched and tested on all platforms and devices, so the work is done for the busy teacher. I update the resource with my conference talks, webinars and TeachMeets and share the same notebook at conferences as a resource. You'll find it here.
“My BYOD Shared OneNote Resource for Teachers is updated almost daily and shared with teachers across the globe. It is very useful tool for me to share in the classroom with children and when preparing for subject related lessons. The tools are thoroughly researched and tested on all platforms and devices, so the work is done for the busy teacher. I update the resource with my conference talks, webinars and TeachMeets and share the same notebook at conferences as a resource.”

Making the most of the technology available
As a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Linda was selected to attend the 2015 E2 Educator Exchange in Redmond and found it to professional development at its best! She loved the collaborative opportunities the Global Exchange afforded her such as being part of a group project with other MIE Experts from all over the world, crossing language barriers and learning about their environments within education.


The E2 Exchange encouraged Linda to keep promoting Microsoft technologies. “What motivates me is my passion about the training of Microsoft Technologies and the importance of certification. If I can make a difference to just one person a day by showing them something they did not know which could benefit their teaching and learning, and make this easier and simpler, I feel a sense of achievement. My favourite saying to teachers who ask me…”is there an app for that?”…my reply is…”yes, it’s called Microsoft OneNote, PowerPoint, Word, Excel….”


Whilst she is no longer working at Elkanah House High School, Linda is still actively involved in training others. She says, “I have discovered my passion…teaching educators and learners how to integrate technology into lessons.”

Find out more about using OneNote
You’ll find the OneNote website at https://www.onenote.com/ Microsoft OneNote is a free must-have classroom or individual application from Microsoft, available online and offline as well as cross device. It is useful information gathering and multi-user collaboration application. OneNote can be used to gathers users' notes (handwritten or typed), drawings, screen clippings, document attachments, videos and audio commentaries. You will find tutorials shared by teachers around the world about OneNote on the Microsoft Educator Community. Take a look at http://bit.ly/1QXY0jG for an example

Get involved in the Microsoft MIEE program in 2017
If you are a teacher who likes to be innovative in the classroom, think about entering Microsoft's Innovative Teacher MIEExpert program in 2017 when applications reopen later in the year. You can learn more about the program at this link: http://bit.ly/1H4gKcBon the Microsoft Educator Community. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Great Google posts for teachers this week #47

After looking through all the Google posts that were shared to various subscriptions recently, these are a selection that look useful for teachers.



Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Do more with Windows 10 in Education - a local webinar from Microsoft Johannesburg on Thurs 10th March 3pm (GMT+2)

We invite you to join Victor Ngobeni (@victorn) who will be hosting Gizem Lislas (@gizemlislas) at a free Microsoft webinar this Thursday 9th March at 3pm. Gizem Lislas is the Windows Consumer Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft South Africa.

Victor and Gizem will demo how Windows 10 can help students and educators do great things with:
· Better learning outcomes
· Affordable devices and solutions
· Safety and security




Time: Thursday afternoon 10th March 2016: 3pm – 3:45pm.
Presenter: Victor Ngebeni and 
Gizem Lislas
Topic: Do more with Windows 10 in education 
The link to joinhttp://mva.zoom.ms/

Wondering how Windows 10 can benefit you and your classroom? Join us for this webinar. If you visit the Microsoft Educator community you'll also find a free course on Windows 10 to work through at your own pace. http://bit.ly/1pwgtgw

This is a webinar not to be missed!